Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken

We love this Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe.  It reminds us of one we used to get at the Thai Orchid Restaurant. It uses bottled sauce which is why it's quick and easy,  I realize that may not be as healthy, but it is what is is people.  We like it.

Kikkoman Sweet and Sour Sauce (for basting or simmering, not their dipping sauce, I get a 4lb 11oz bottle from Cash and Carry and I can get 4+ meals for my family of 7 out of one container.  It's also much cheaper than the itty bitty store bottles.)

3 chicken breasts sliced very thin
1 red pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 seedless cucumber cut into spears
1 large can pineapple chunks, drained or fresh pineapple

Pour some oil in a large skillet and stir fry onions and peppers. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook until chicken is no longer pink.  Add as much sauce as you like along with the cucumbers and pineapple and simmer for a few minutes then serve over rice.  

Just a heads up that the cucumbers make this.  Seriously my husband was totally skeptical and not a huge cucumber fan but the crunch they give is awesome.  The other thing we love about it is having the chicken sliced really thin.

This recipe feeds my family of 7 with a little left over.  So you may want to adjust if you don't feed an army every night.  :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Kneaders Raspberry Bread Pudding with Warm Vanilla Sauce

This recipe is a copy cat of the Raspberry Bread Pudding from Kneaders Bakery.  It is pretty much heaven on earth.  I made it last year with croissants and then my friend Corinne made it over the holidays with French bread and I loved it even more.  

1 1/2 loaves stale french bread
1 qt. heavy cream
3 C. sugar (I think you could cut this down to 2 cups maybe even 1 1/2)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
5 C. raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. apple juice
In a large bowl mix the cream, sugar, egg and vanilla. Cut bread into 1 1/2 inch cubes and add to cream mixture, coating the bread well.Let stand 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to allow cream to absorb.Mix the raspberries, sugar and apple juice, stirring until sugar is dissolved.

Layer a 9×13 inch baking pan 3/4 full with the bread mix and pour fruit filling over the bread mix, spreading evenly.

Top with the remaining bread.Bake 40 minutes at 375.

Serve warm topped with vanilla cream sauce.

(If you want it to cut into nice squares you can chill it and then cut it into squares, then microwave it for 20-25 seconds per piece and top with sauce.)

Vanilla Cream Sauce

2/3 C. butter
2.5 T. flour
1 1/2 C. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 C. sugar

Melt butter in medium saucepan and add flour.  Stir 10 minutes until it has a nutty aroma, do not brown.  Add salt, cream and sugar until mix is thick.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Serve warm over the pudding.

Indonesian Beef Curry with Coconut Basmati Rice

Another great recipe from my friend Corinne.  She found it in Cooking Light magazine.  I made a few adjustments for our tastes/heat tolerance. :)  It also makes a great freezer meal.

Curry - 
Cooking Spray             
1 1/2 lbs. lean top round, cut into thin slices (I also use petite sirloin)
1 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil 
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (I minced an onion)
1 Tbsp. minced, fresh ginger 
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (I use 6 tsp. bottled, minced garlic)
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced (I mince them - wear food prep gloves)
2 tsp. ground coriander   1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. salt                     1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. black pepper      3 cardamom pods, crushed (I use 1 tsp. ground cardamom)
1 stick of cinnamon         1 cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. lime juice

Rice - 
1 1/4  cups water   (1\2-3/4 cup water if doing in rice cooker)
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 tsp. salt

To prepare curry - 
Heat a large skillet, coated with cooking spray.  Cook beef, in single layer.  Do one 1/2 at a time if needed.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes.  Place beef in bowl on the side.

Reduce heat, drain liquid and add oil to pan.  Add Shallots, ginger, garlic, and chili's.  Cook 4 minutes stirring occasionally.  Stir in Coriander, cumin, salt, cloves, pepper, cardamom and cinnamon stick.  Cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Return beef to pan, and add broth. 

Cover, reduce heat. (**This is when I let it cool and freeze it flat in a Ziploc bag.**)  Simmer 35 minutes or until beef is tender.  Uncover and cook for 10 more minutes, or until sauce is thick.  Discard Cinnamon stick and add in lime juice.  

To Prepare Rice on Stovetop:
Bring all ingredients to a boil.  Cover and turn heat down and simmer for 18 minutes.    Take off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

In Rice Cooker:
Dump it in (see water adjustment) and let it work it's magic!

*I like to double this for my family.  It feeds us dinner one night and lunch for a few people the next day.